The Cabinet decision to extend the contracts of the three private garbage collecting companies that were expiring on 14th June this year for one more year is brewing a fight between Kampala traders on one side and KCCA together with the Government on the other.
If the decision is effected, Nabugabo Up Deal Joint Venture, Homeklin Services (U) LTD and Kampala Solid Waste Management Consortium LTD will continue to collect waste from the city up to 14th June 2020.
To the traders, the news of the extension of the contracts was shocking.
Under the umbrella of Kampala Arcaders’ Traders Association (KATA) the traders have swore never to pay the collection fee if these companies were still in charge of collecting the garbage.
Upon learning on the extension, they gave the government 14 days to withdraw the decision or else wait for the consequence.
Their chairperson, Godfrey Katongole, said that the companies had breached the terms of their contracts by unfairly hiking charges.
“Their current contracts with KCCA stipulate that they must charge us between UGX 3,000 and UGX 30,000 depending on one’s business but they charge between UGX 20,000 and UGX 100,000, a fee we don’t understand,” he said. “They use harsh enforcement; officers beat and arrest traders while collecting the dues. If the government does not have the capacity to collect garbage from our premises then it should let us (the traders) do it by ourselves.”
Ronnie Kasoma who represents Kawempe at KATA said that currently some vendors are withdrawing from business due to unfair charges including the garbage collection fee.
The Trader’s demands
Traders demand that the responsibility of garbage collection be carried by the KCCA or let traders mobilise themselves to collect the garbage.
The issue of garbage is not a new controversy to Kampala, In January Kampala traders petitioned the President over the garbage collection fees from companies contracted by KCCA.
Beti Namisango Kamya, the Minister for Kampala said that following a presidential directives, KCCA and her ministry made thorough consultations across all stakeholders including the Kampala Arcarders Traders Association (KATA) before presenting the report to the cabinet which it (cabinet) based on to make the final decision over the matter.
Charges to be set to KCCA-Kamya
Kamya added that unlike in the previous contracts where charges have always been determined by these companies, in the new contracts it is KCCA to determine the floor and ceiling of the charges.
Kamya added that the companies would be compelled to recycle the garbage.
KCCA speaks out
Peter Kauju, the KCCA Public Relation Officer, however, advised the traders to respect systems and structures of the government for smooth delivery of services to them.
“Let them play their part and pay for their garbage. They cannot be traders and regulators at the same time,” he said.